Hundreds were on hand Thursday night for the 11th annual Wounded Warrior banquet to support wounded veterans through the Mighty Oaks Foundation
The banquet, held at the Walker County Fairgrounds, has raised more than $2 million for the foundation since its inception. The event included silent and live auctions, a steak dinner and a keynote address by United States Marine Corps General James Conway, the 34th commandant of the Corps.
“It is an honor to be amongst fellow veterans who have sacrificed and given back to their nation,” Conway said. “Freedom is something that we are not born with, but must fight to preserve. We are the most patriotic nation on earth and support our military like no other nation. It is an important American tradition we need to always remember, whether they are on the frontlines or have returned home wounded from battle.”
Chad Robichaux, a Marine and the founder of the Mighty Oaks Foundation also spoke during the event, followed by a testimonial from active duty Marine Micah Gonzalez. Mighty Oaks is a non-profit organization that helps rehabilitate veterans returning home from battle with post traumatic stress disorder.
Veterans have the opportunity to get inpatient treatment at one of the programs recovery treatments in Texas, California, Virginia and Ohio, free of charge.
“I do not consider myself the founder of the Mighty Oaks, but the first patient,” Robichaux said. “Following my service, I was diagnosed with PTSD and tried to battle the affliction alone, which led to a suicide attempt. I never wanted another veteran to feel that way, but today there are 22 suicides by service members each day, with a total of 130,000 since the beginning of the War on Terror. That is why this organization was founded, so that veterans have a place to turn for help, love and support in their darkest hour.”